NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP, 20/9/97 JASON PLATO this afternoon (Saty) boosted his hopes of finishing the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship season as runner-up to his Renault team-mate Alain Menu with a...
NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP, 20/9/97 JASON PLATO this afternoon (Saty) boosted his hopes of finishing the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship season as runner-up to his Renault team-mate Alain Menu with a pair of storming drives in qualifying for tomorrow's final rounds.
Plato -- new to the BTCC this season but a race winner nonetheless -- will start both races from the front row of the grid. The Oxfordshire youngster beat Honda's Gabriele Tarquini to the pole for round 23 by the margin of one-tenth of a second, then went quicker still to claim second on the grid alongside Menu for the 24th and final round of the championship.
Plato is locked in battle with former champion Frank Biela for the honour of taking second place in the championship. The Renault man trails the Audi driver by 23 points, but with Biela struggling to find pace today -- he was only 12th and sixth fastest in respective sessions -- Plato's chances are looking strong.
Plato maintained that whether he finished second or third in the championship was irrelevant to him. "I just want to win races," he said.
Champion Menu was delighted to be starting the final round from pole: "I won the first race of the year, and then some more... and it would be nice to win the last."
With Tarquini second and James Thompson third quickest in the two qualifying sessions, the Honda team looks the likeliest to upset the Renault team's plans for a runaway finale to the championship. Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship Official qualifying, Silverstone, 20/9/97 Round 23 1 Jason Plato (GB), Renault Laguna, 1m 23.397s, 97.21mph; 2 Gabriele Tarquini (It), Honda Accord, 1m 23.508s; 3 Alain Menu (Switz), Renault Laguna, 1m 23.646s; 4 Anthony Reid (GB), Nissan Primera, 1m 23.689s; 5 James Thompson (GB), Honda Accord, 1m 23.707s Round 24 1 Menu, 1m 23.226s, 97.41mph; 2 Plato, 1m 23.387s; 3 Thompson, 1m 23.535s; 4 Reid, 1m 23.722s; 5 Tarquini, 1m 23.974s